Friday, February 11, 2011
This wooden komainu was in the museum at Usa Jingu. It is a type of komainu that is no longer as common as the stone ones found at the entrances to shrines and temples. If a shrine has a Zuijinmon, an entrance gate with pairs of zuijin (guardian statues) there will often be a small wooden komainu with them.
The most common komainu now are the stone ones found along the entranceways. These are mostly from the Edo-period.
Here is an excellent paper on different komainu styles. The author discusses many of the different styles and their geographic ranges, as well as laments modern japans drive towards national homogenity which is seeing one, modern, national style of komnainu increasing.
For me, the diversity is what is fascinating.
All of these komainu were found on the Kunisaki Peninsular of Northern Kyushu.
The other place to see komainu is carved into the beams of shrines and temples.